Single Release: Kristina Dervaitis, “Everything & Nothing”

Kristina Dervaitis - Everything & Nothing

When a person is processing grief, it is common to experience a cycle of emotions before landing at acceptance. The first stage: denial, forms the topic of Kristina Dervaitis’ “Everything & Nothing,” the first single from her sophomore solo album “Quickening,” due to release in April.

The song instantly conveys gravity, as the opening moments feature urgent piano chords and driving bass, setting a weighty tone. The opening lyrics – “I’ve been running into signs / Too close to it, I can’t read it” – start to bring the main topic of the song into focus, and the next lines, “I’ve been smelling smoke / I hear sirens / But I don’t think there’s fire ‘cause I can’t see it,” expand on this feeling of being too close to the issue to be able to objectively think about it.

Kristina Dervaitis

Kristina’s vocal delivery defies easy categorization – I thought of Carole King’s performance of “I Feel the Earth Move,” but there is more edge and grit here; a closer comparison would be the sister-trio Joseph and their emotive vocals on their song “Honest.”  She uses that to great effect as she reaches the chorus, where she puts voice to the uncertainty: “This is everything / No, this is nothing / Don’t mean anything / It must mean something.” Interestingly, as she sings these ambivalent lyrics, the chord progressions ascend, suggesting the possibility of a resolution.

The best lines in the song are featured as the song starts to come in for a landing: “And I overthink, overread, overwant, overneed / Everything and nothing.” Distorted guitar chimes in on the bridge and accents the closing moments of the song, underlining the uncertainty that the protagonist finds herself wrestling through.

While Dervaitis has remarked that she was thinking specifically of climate change as she wrote this song – “Some signs just can’t be ignored without grave consequences,” she explained, and the song’s music video also alludes to this – she left the lyrics open enough, and relatable enough, to resonate with the listener in myriad additional ways. And to acknowledge that you’re in denial is to take a step toward getting to the other side of it.

Photo Credit: Artist Website

Matt Wheeler is a Lancaster County, PA-based singer, songsmith, stage-banter conversationalist, husband, & special-needs father. And an avid vinyl record collector, a purveyor of random facts, & tour-er of Canada (southern Ontario is a favorite destination). Ever since being introduced to Great Lake Swimmers' music through Pandora in about 2009, he has had an appreciation for Canadian music.

Matt's songs & stories, including his classic literature-based project "Wonder of It All," can be found at

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